Brooklyn Jazz Underground

The Brooklyn Jazz Underground, a newly formed collective, is an association of independent bandleaders with a shared commitment to improvised music. Through cooperative effort, members of the BJU strive to create greater awareness of their work.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

BJU in DownBeat

BJU members Sunny Jain and Tanya Kalmanovitch are featured in Dan Ouellette's column "The Question" in the February 2007 issue of DownBeat. The question in question is this: "What album from the last decade is a must-listen for jazz elders?" Here's what they said:

Sunny Jain: Rez Abassi, Bazaar (Zoho). Rez was born in Pakistan, raised in Los Angeles, lives in New York now and is part of the thriving South Asian jazz scene that's exploring the natural marriage of Indian music and jazz, given each style's deep appreciation of improvisation. Indian music has been a part of jazz for a long time, but Rez is bringing a different slant and new dimension to it, having grown up in the U.S. He's bringing his culture fully into his music instead of just inserting his cultural heritage. He's got tabla and mridangam players and an Indian vocalist, and his guitar playing is a hybrid of rhythmic concepts steeped in the South Indian tradition. Listening to what Rez is doing opens a window on a global subculture of music.

Tanya Kalmanovitch: Benoît Delbecq Unit, Phonetics (Songlines). Benoît is a French pianist who studied with Muhal Richard Abrams. He's special in the way he synthesizes so many elements in his music - modern jazz, world jazz, classical - and structures improvisation and straddles the gulf between that and the notes on a page. Benoît represents a progression in jazz. He has a distinctive and idiosyncratic approach, such as intuitively playing free chromatic melodies that float over hip polyrhythmic, odd-metre grooves. Plus, in his band he has [saxophonist] Mark Turner, who brings his own contemporary sound to the mix. I've subbed on viola in Benoît's group. I come from a classical background, so we share a common vocabulary, but the way he thinks about jazz allows for so many voices. Playing with him helped me find my voice.


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